The National Hurricane Center has ranked last October's Hurricane Sandy as the second costliest in US history, according to a report the agency released on Tuesday. The storm, which slammed into the Northeast on October 27th, caused $50 billion in damages, according to the report, surpassing every other hurricane on record except for Katrina, which devastated the Gulf region in 2005 to the tune of $108 billion, or $128 billion after adjusting for inflation. The third costliest US Hurricane was 1992's Andrew, which caused $44 billion in today's dollars across southern Florida. In terms of casualties, Sandy ranks second in the last 40 years as the center attributed 72 deaths directly to the storm.
The only storm more deadly than Sandy in the last four decades was Agnes, which led directly to 122 fatalities in 1972. The Hurricane Center report also attributed another 87 deaths indirectly to Sandy, including cases of hypothermia deaths during power outages and fatal accidents that occurred during the cleanup. But even if those deaths were included with Sandy's direct victims, casualty list would still compare to the deadliest storm included in Hurricane Center records, which date back to 1851. That distinction goes to a storm in 1900, before hurricanes were given names, which claimed between 8,000 and 12,000 people in Galveston, Texas.
According to the report issued Tuesday, Sandy began on October 11th as a tropical wave near the African coast, reaching the Caribbean a week later and reaching hurricane strength on October 24th. Though the storm briefly dropped below hurricane-force winds over Cuba, the storm continued to grow and by the time in made landfall in New Jersey covered a massive area some 1,000 miles across. In the US alone, Sandy damaged or destroyed more than 650,000 homes, and more than 8 million homes were left without power for at least a few days. In some areas, the power outages lasted for more than a week.